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The Middle East’s best camping spots

Georgina Wilson-Powell

Published: Updated:

It’s time to dig out the barbeque and find the tent poles and head outside to some of the calmest, clearest desert sands and wadis before the temperatures head north again. We’ve rounded up our favorite spots to pitch a tent across the Middle East.

United Arab Emirates

With 80% of the country made up of desert, it’s time to take advantage of the wonderful beach camping in Umm Al Quwain, which has 24 kilometers of beach frontage. Camp at UAQ Marine where you’ve got the resort and pool behind you and the sand and the ocean in front. While you can’t have a campfire you can buy a special barbeque box to cook on.

In the other direction, heading south past Abu Dhabi, Al Dhafra Beach is a beautiful spot for snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding and fishing and you can camp on the beach near Al Dhafra Golf Links

If you’re after something more remote, the sand dunes of Ras Al Khaimah are the perfect weekend spot. Out here (off the J119 road off Emirates Road) you’re more likely to see camel and oryx than people and a night under the stars is just the antidote to the UAE’s busy cities.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi is well set up for camping, especially through its network of national parks. Head to Asir National Park, the country’s first and experience the highest mountain in Saudi Arabia, Jabal Soodah - the lush valleys here feel more European than Arabian with forests and fog.

Oman

Oman is one of the most accommodating and easiest countries to camp in and the country’s commitment to adventure tourism will only see this increase. Most areas tolerate the odd tent and there are some fabulous spots - try the White Beach at Fins for some of the best snorkeling and diving or Mughsayl in Salalah for breezy weather and more beach views surrounded by some of Oman’s most lush valleys.

Jordan

While wild camping isn’t legal in Jordan there are a few spots around the country that will welcome eager back-to-nature campers. Sharhabil Ben Hassneh Eco Park in the north combines walking and biking trails with demonstrating how to help look after the land in the river valley. There’s plenty of room for campers with showers, toilets, electricity and drinking water.

Bahrain

Take to the low levels of Bahrain’s tallest mountain Jebel Al Dukhan for a popular camping experience in the ancient kingdom. Nearby is the Al Areen Wildlife Park and Al Jazeer Beach where you can have a sundowner shisha before heading back to your camp spot for the night.

Qatar

Qatar has a number of family friendly camping spots, some with basic facilities and others where you’ll have to take everything you need but many of them are right on the beach. Um Bab Family Beach has shallow water and toilets while at Fuwairat North you can camp near the turtle nesting area. Those with a 4x4 though might like to try the Southeast Inland Sea beach, which has some of the best swimming in the country and you can take in the view over the water to Saudi Arabia.